China Press Review – June 17, 2020

China Economy: GDP Could Still Grow 3% In 2020 Amid Coronavirus Recovery
Chinese GDP could grow 3% this year, as Asia’s largest economy recovers from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Zhang Ming, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences think tank, said Tuesday in an online event.      Ho Woei Chen, an economist at UOB Group, forecasted full-year growth of 1.8%. A second wave of the coronavirus could put China’s economic recovery in doubt. An outbreak at Beijing’s Xinfadi market has resulted in more than 100 cases of the virus in the capital region since Thursday. Beijing has gone into a “wartime” mode, closing schools and setting up 24-hour security checkpoints.

China-US tensions pose biggest risk to Chinese economy in the second half of 2020, analysts say
The biggest downside risk for China’s economy this year is escalation of US-China tensions, analysts sayPhase one trade deal signed in January seen as the single positive thread in bilateral ties, but even that is showing signs of fraying

Commission adopts White Paper on foreign subsidies in the Single Market
The European Commission has adopted a White Paper dealing with the distortive effects caused by foreign subsidies in the Single Market. The Commission now seeks views and input from all stakeholders on the options set out in the White Paper. The public consultation, which will be open until 23 September 2020, will help the Commission to prepare for appropriate legislative proposals in this area.

Amazon to use AI tech in its warehouses to enforce social distancing
The system, called Distance Assistant, will highlight workers keeping a safe distance and those that are too close    This comes as Amazon faces intensifying scrutiny from US lawmakers and unions over whether it is doing enough to protect staff from the pandemic

As the US and China brawl, global businesses find themselves on the front lines
Sanctions and export controls, threats of visa and investment restrictions: ‘Companies feel buffeted by all of this negative news,’ business consultant says   Firms retool their assessments and make contingency plans as the list of threats to their bottom line constantly    As US-China relations crater and the Trump administration rolls out a blizzard of anti-China measures, global companies are struggling to navigate and make contingency plans for economic and political risks until recently seen as long shots.
“Proposals are no longer considered outlandish and their odds of implementation are rising,” said Henrietta Treyz, economic policy director with Veda Partners, which advises clients on political and economic business risks. “We fully anticipate the US-China relationship will become more strained from here.”

What are Common Mistakes Ecommerce Newbies Make?
Ecommerce businesses have recently seen a growth in their sales, and many business people have decided to start their own ecommerce business to capitalize on how well ecommerce has performed during COVID. However, newbies tend to make common mistakes that could easily be avoided if they caught them on time. These mistakes do not happen due to a lack of interest or knowledge, but probably due to the speed in which people are trying to jump into business. Once you realize the errors, you can easily correct them with a little more research.    Luckily, these mistakes are avoidable. The most important step is to do thorough research and understand your return on ads spent. You need to have an advertisement budget set aside; to spend and to have in case you lose money. Create a spreadsheet with your cost of goods and your revenue. Find merchant processors that are experts on ecommerce and suppliers who can provide the best prices to lower your cost of goods.    Starting an ecommerce business is like starting any other business. You need to be prepared to do it, understand what it takes to start a business and have the knowledge of what steps you need to be taking. If you do your research and know your key elements, you will be able to avoid all the common mistakes newbies make.

How Chinese Department-Store Survived Covid-19
How Chinese Department-Store Chain Intime survived to Covid-19 outbreak and sales drop? The answer is integration of online and offline. Let’s see how.

Toward A Global Cashless Economy
New precautions in place due to COVID-19 have propelled us faster in the direction of contactless transactions.     Interoperability is then the cornerstone of expanding trade through global digital payments.   Mobile payments in the United States, China, Russia and India are driving the global trend.

pdf =Confronting COVID-19
An Ipsos perspective on economical & medtech industry impacts in China

Sudden, new coronavirus cluster in Beijing points to the growth challenges ahead for China
The reemergence of coronavirus cases in China’s capital city of Beijing over the weekend adds further uncertainty for businesses and consumers, who may be less willing to spend as a result.     “The resurgent panic will slow the pace of other cities’ reopening, hurt consumer confidence and drive up unemployment even further,“ says Dan Wang, analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).    For now, Beijing’s increased restrictions are less stringent than blanket bans issued earlier this year, and analysts still see areas of growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

Beijing Reimposes Restrictions Amid Resurgence of Virus
The municipal government of Beijing raised its Covid-19 emergence response level and reimposed some drastic disease-control measures after a new cluster of infections emerged in China’s capital.
The Beijing government elevated the city’s emergency response one notch to level 2, the second-highest among four levels of disease response, authorities said Tuesday night. The capital quickly rolled back reopening measures just days after most leisure venues in the city resumed services.

Coronavirus prompts top-level call for China’s markets to modernise
Chinese Communist Party’s powerful disciplinary watchdog says Beijing market outbreak exposes supply chain weaknesses  Article asks what needs to be done to make wholesale markets fit for modern metropolis

Coronavirus: China’s freeze on imported salmon stirs concern about wider impact on European food trade
The European Commission says China has not banned salmon imports, but supermarket shelves in Beijing have been cleared of foreign fish and meat   Traders say imports were frozen after the virus was discovered on chopping boards used for imported salmon at Beijing’s Xinfadi market

China Starts Intensive Testing of Imported Meat for Coronavirus
China’s customs authorities started testing all imports of meat for coronavirus, and officials in some major cities are also checking the products at domestic markets. A fresh outbreak of the Covid-19 pathogen was linked to a wholesale seafood and meat market in Beijing. Port authorities are conducting nucleic acid tests on all shipments of imported meat, according to a trading executive with a major supplier who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. Customs officials have also started testing every consignment within shipments, instead of taking random samples

Return of coronavirus in Beijing threatens to derail Chinese airlines’ recovery as 1,255 flights cancelled amid tighter travel restrictions
About two thirds of flights in and out of the capital were cancelled on Wednesday as authorities raced to contain a potential second wave     The flare-up of the pandemic at a food market could affect Air China, China Southern, China Eastern and Hainan Airlines the most, say experts

How coronavirus is poisoning US-China relations, one accusation at a time
The pandemic has rekindled conspiracy theories, renewed criticism and hostility and increased calls for a hard decoupling – while leaving a leadership void for China to fill and inflicting greater economic damage on the US

Coronavirus: Chinese firm says its vaccine candidate passes phase two clinical trials
China National Biotec Group (CNBG) says tests show its vaccine is safe, and now looks to clinical trials overseas    China has five vaccines under clinical study, with Sinovac Biotech’s candidate also completing a phase two trial

HSBC to resume massive restructuring plan, cut 35,000 jobs
HSBC plans to cut as many as 35,000 jobs as part of a massive overhaul first unveiled in February    The London-based lender paused jobs cuts in March because of the ‘extraordinary impact’ of the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy

Can Fashion in China Get Woke?
Protests against social injustices have galvanized millions of people around the world, and this cultural pressure is helping to build a new standard for how brands approach social issues. Over the past few weeks, major luxury and fashion brands have collectively pledged to make their notoriously insular industry more diverse and more “woke,” a phrase used to refer to heightened awareness around social issues. However, while many brands are launching playbooks to support #BlackLivesMatter or are hiring diversity councils, corporate activism usually remains on the sidelines when it comes to companies in China, the world’s biggest luxury market.  China’s increasingly sophisticated internet censorship and surveillance are perhaps the most obvious reasons for its industry-wide silence. There’s also a misconception regarding China’s “apolitical, purely pragmatic” consumers. The deep-seated idea that “Chinese shoppers don’t care about social issues,” which is mostly due to a lack of serious fashion reporting on China, simply isn’t true. In fact, clothes are one of the only legitimate ways Chinese youths can express their identities in a society that is only becoming more restricted.

The race for HK$71 billion cash handout is heating up as more banks bait customers with gold bar, iPhone, and food vouchers
HSBC extends its 10 per cent interest on short-term deposits rate to existing clients, dangles cash, iPhone to attract sign-ups   Gold bar and coins are among lucky prizes offered by Shanghai Commercial Bank in the competition

Tomorrow’s world of education: students learn online in Covid-19 lockdown, but what edtech advances can we expect?
Lockdown closures of schools and universities in at least 194 counties sees more than 90 per cent of world’s students continue classes online     Hong Kong well placed to promote rising number of new edtech ventures as education sector looks to embrace digital innovation

Software robots to take on more work in Asia as Covid-19 accelerates demand for automation, says UiPath
RPAs read documents and automatically input keyboard instructions – replacing repetitive, human labour

China Inc. Leaving U.S. Market at Fastest Pace Since 2015
Chinese companies are ditching their U.S. listings at the fastest pace since 2015 as they grapple with rising tensions between Beijing and Washington.    The latest is China’s biggest online classified firm Inc., which on Monday agreed to a buyout deal led by private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic. An investor group backed by Chinese tech tycoon Pony Ma’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. said last week it will take Bitauto Holdings Ltd. private in a deal valuing the car-listing website at $1.1 billion.

Europe Must Stand Up to China Before It’s Too Late
The EU must defend its values rather than caving to economic pressure from Beijing.

 ‘Five Eyes’ look in different directions on Huawei  
New Zealand and Canada face a dilemma as the US pushes them to ban Huawei from telecoms networks, national security experts from Five Eyes countries said in an online discussion held by Canadian research organization Conference of Defence Associations Institute on June 9.

Pentagon warns China is exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to wage ‘economic warfare’ on the US
Defense officials are increasingly concerned China is using the coronavirus crisis to gain stakes in strategically important businesses as the pandemic leaves struggling companies urgently in need of capital.

China should ‘lay down its cards’ and push for more talks with US, former top Chinese diplomat says
Fu Ying, who was the deputy foreign minister, also said the country needed to be more transparent on its defence policy     In an opinion piece ahead of a meeting between Yang Jiechi and Mike Pompeo, she said the two sides should stick to the phase one trade deal

Crisis in Ladakh strengthens US–India relations against China
The face-off between Indian and Chinese forces has become uglier with the recent deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers. It is the first such incident in over four decades and likely to change India’s perception of China decisively. US President Donald Trump initially offered to mediate to help resolve the border crisis threatening peace in the broader Himalayan region. Trump knew the two would reject his mediatory proposal. But his decision to make it should be understood within the context of his ‘free and open’ Indo-Pacific vision, US strategic rivalry with China, and his diplomatic aim to nudge India towards a more confrontational position vis-a-vis China.

China, India ‘committed to solving differences’ in border dispute, Beijing says
Two nations ‘have far more common interests than differences’, foreign ministry says    Deadly clash started when Indian troops ‘broke their promise and transgressed onto Chinese side’, spokesman says

India and China: Conflict or cooling?
 As it happens, “the ideal” foreign policy framework for India is to be an autonomous center of strength, which is cooperating with different competing poles simultaneously and maintaining a constructive balance of interests amid competition between leading powers. Meanwhile, for China, given a mounting confrontation with the United States, further constructive relations with India appear to be one of the most favorable scenarios in the conditions of the changing architecture of a world order after the corona crisis. History shows that «political willpower and readiness for compromise» can overcome even the most deep-rooted differences. In the long run, both countries should be realistic enough to understand that an alternative to normalization of bilateral relations is a new escalation of crisis.

TikTok loosens grip on political speech for Black Lives Matter
The video-sharing app updated its community guidelines to provide exceptions for videos that are educational, historical, newsworthy, or otherwise aim to raise awareness about issues Videos with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag on TikTok have surpassed 10 billion views

China’s Zoom Bomb
Zoom restored the accounts it had blocked and promised to do more to refine its technology to allow it to better adapt to political conditions in the countries where it operates; it had shut down the memorials in question, Zoom’s statement explained, because it lacked a tool for individually removing mainland Chinese participants. The company vowed that “going forward Zoom will not allow requests from the Chinese government to impact anyone outside of mainland China.” But this has been small comfort to users around the world, including many institutions, now considering whether or not to continue to use Zoom’s products.    What is the right way to ensure that companies following China’s laws don’t violate the rights of consumers using their products outside of China’s borders? Is it possible for foreign companies with a presence in China to maintain their stated commitments to norms and values that China’s government rejects

Gender discrimination at work is dragging China’s growth
Awidening gender gap in labor force participation and earnings has accompanied China’s economic achievements since the beginning of Deng Xiaoping’s economic liberalization. A major factor driving this trend has been the loosening of state control over the marketplace, which has given private sector firms and even state-owned enterprises more latitude in a competitive economic environment to discriminate against women in the workforce and in pay. At the same time, state-supported childcare facilities have declined, putting a burden on women seeking employment and on firms that would have to pay a premium to hire women.    These and other factors have effectively blocked many women from competing on an equal footing with men in China’s labor market. The resulting underutilization of human capital has weakened labor market efficiency and imposed a drag on China’s economic growth.

Alain Gillard
Information Officer
Service Asie Pacifique
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